By Nita Farahany, Saheel Chodavadia & Sara H. Katsanis Pages: 4-7
In the summer of 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers removed more than 2600 migrant children from their families at the United States–Mexico border. The rationale behind the separations ranged from the criminal prosecution of illegally entering adults accompanying the children to uncertainty over the true relationships between the adults and children. By July, the U.S. government announced its intent to use genetic testing as a way to ascertain the alleged biological relationships between the children and accompanying adults. Suddenly, questions about whether and what form of genetic testing should be used in this context, whether and what privacy protections should apply, and the role of genetic testing in immigration became subject to international debate, drawing in bioethicists, geneticists, and practitioners alike. We believe that voluntary genetic testing in immigration can serve a useful function, but that ethical guidelines for its implementation are urgently needed.
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